One of the most difficult aspects of project management is keeping on top of time management. This is an essential part of project management training. A lot of leaders make the mistake of overestimating when it comes to timelines and deadlines, which gets things off to a bad start to begin with, as it sets up the project team for failure. But, once you get the deadline right that is only the start of the process. You need to implement effective time management to make sure that everything runs smoothly. With that being said, read on for some top tips to follow.
- Make a to-do list and stick to it – More often than not, we waste time doing things that really are not of immediate importance. Email fixation is a modern-day issue, and it is a prime example of this. We constantly check our emails, replying to them as soon as we receive them, which can distract you from carrying out important tasks. This is why it is a good idea to create a daily to-do list. You can work through this list, which will ensure you remain focused on your goals for the day. This will drive further activity, as you tick things off the list.
- Don’t do the work – A lot of project managers fall into the trap of trying to do everything themselves. However, your full-time job is to manage the project, and you should have assigned team members to carry out all of the other roles. Of course, when a deadline is looming, it can be tempting to take over. But, you should avoid this at all costs. Focus on managing your team so they can get the job done.
- Avoid micro managing – Have faith that you have chosen the best team for job, and let them get on with what they are good at. You can waste a considerable amount of time by getting into the finer details when it really is not necessary.
- Make sure your meetings are productive – Those who have not taken any project management courses tend to adopt the following approach to meetings; they will simply get everyone together and get each member to give a status update on their progress. This is not advised. Instead, you need to extract true value from the meeting by identifying opportunities, issues, and risks, and getting the team to brainstorm ideas and solutions. It is also important to set a time for the meeting, say an hour, and stick to it, and make sure you have an agreed agenda beforehand.
- Have an effective plan in place – You may be wondering what having an effective plan has to do with time management, but it is actually the most important point. A good plan will have regular milestones in place, giving all team members something to focus on. This means that everything is crystal clear, and you are thus going to spend much less team dealing with problems that occur because of a lack of clarity.